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A-League Ratings Are “Disappointing”

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-League competition chief, Greg O’Rourke, has said the ratings for the season restart have been “disappointing”, after being bested by Super Rugby and Formula One qualifiers.

OzTam reported the A-League’s season restart saw just 12,000 viewers on Fox Sports for the Friday night matchup, followed by 9,000 the next day for the second matchup on Fox Sports.

O’Rourke admitted the numbers were below expectations but pointed to the figures not being released by streaming platforms Kayo Sports or My Football Live as reasoning why the competition’s viewership is much stronger than the Fox Sports results.

He said last season on Kayo, A-League matches averaged about 15,000 viewers, and the numbers for My Football Live have increased “six- or seven-fold”.

“The Fox numbers are important and they’re disappointing, I’m not going to shy away from that,” O’Rourke told The Herald.

“We would prefer it to be higher, so people weren’t talking so much about metrics and more about the game.

“But whilst the Fox broadcast is the carrier of the product, it’s viewed many different ways.

“We’re pushing people to watch it on Kayo and My Football Live because we know we’re out of season, and some people would have probably turned the [Foxtel] box off who were football lovers,” he said.

With the lower-than-average broadcast figures, the clubs are starting to take matters into their own hands, with Sydney FC streaming their own half-hour pre-match shows on their social media, after fans noticed Fox reduced production spend for the A-League restart, opting to hold no pre-or post-match content.

Sydney FC CEO, Danny Townsend, told The Herald the club had a peak of 10,000 viewers watch their pre-match live show.

“I wouldn’t suggest it’s a reflection on the television production,” Townsend said.

“For us it’s about reaching new audiences and starting to train people to go to a digital environment to see this type of content.

“That talks to the fact that we need a permanent home for digital content for our game, and we’ve got to curate that based on what our fans want and give that to them in a digestible manner.

“It’s about aggregating it in one place and delivering a whole-of-game solution.

“Putting a pre-game show on Facebook is not going to serve that purpose but it’s a step in that direction.

“We’ve got to think like a media business,” he said.

Before the A-League season returned to action, Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Foxtel reached a new agreement covering the rest of the 2019-20 season and the 2020-21 season worth a reported $32 million.

This was the result of a renegotiation after it had been reported Foxtel terminated its rights contract to host A-League content, using a force majeure clause to end its $57 million per-year deal, which had another three seasons attached.